Mulligatawny Burgers

It’s time, once again, for the weekly Build a Better Burger Contest, uh, burger.


Yes, I’m still trying to entice you to buy this book. If you’re into experimental and less traditional burgers, this is a great resource. The winning burgers from 1990 – 2004 are listed: The Grand Prize, First Prize, Second Prize and, always a quirky burger, the Award for Creativity. Today’s burger is the Grand Prize for the 1996 competition and the first burger by a female contestant to win the competition, proving once and for all that chicks like fire, too: Mulligatawny Burgers.

Photo courtesy of Build a Better Burger

This burger is paired with Sauvignon Blanc.

What originally drew me to this burger is that I love apples and curry together, and the sound of it with a souped-up chicken patty was irresistible.

Mulligatawny Burgers

Curried Apple Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped tart apple
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Pinch of ground cayenne

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 pounds freshly ground chicken
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped tart apple
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fine, fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon curry powder

You may or may not have noticed that I keep marking these burgers for the “Weeknight Cooking” category. Often times, I think the home cook rules burgers out because they should mostly be a “grilling” item, which involves a whole production with a BBQ. You’re waiting for me to bring up the George Foreman – and you’re right, I am! I have whipped these up on a Foreman grill for a delicious weeknight meal. Also doable in a pan, although you know I am partial to the George.

To start, make the curried mayonnaise: Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to blend well. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Toast the almonds. You can either do this in a fire-proof skillet right on top of the grill, something on your stove or, as I mentioned yesterday, in a toaster oven. Set aside to cool.

Combine chicken, egg white, green onion, and apple in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. Finely chop the toasted almonds (or give them a quick whirl in a food processor or coffee grinder) and combine with the bread crumbs and curry powder in a shallow bowl, stirring well. Coat both sides of the patties with the almond mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once, just until the juices run clear when the patties are pierced in the center – about 4 minutes on each side.

Serve with lightly toasted sourdough rolls, fresh spinach leaves and some of the curried apple mayonnaise.

First impressions about this burger (I’ve made it a few times now, so I’m trying to think back to when I took my first bite): Admittedly, this was the first real non-traditional burger I had ever tried and after my first bite, I was a little conflicted. I had to think about it while mulling over the mild, fresh flavors in my mouth until I could decide that I was completely and totally sold. The nuts were a surprise. I’m not usually a huge fan of nuts in anything other than cookies, so to come in contact with the nuts was a shock, but not off-putting. Toasting them makes them a little soft, and that’s why I didn’t mind them. The curried mayonnaise goes fantastically well with the burger – the sweetness of the apple with the mayonnaise and a hint of spice marries the patty nicely.

Verdict: Make it this weekend!

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